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18 November 2014 Subaperture test of wavefront error of large telescopes: error sources and stitching performance simulations
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The wavefront error of large telescopes requires to be measured to check the system quality and also estimate the misalignment of the telescope optics including the primary, the secondary and so on. It is usually realized by a focal plane interferometer and an autocollimator flat (ACF) of the same aperture with the telescope. However, it is challenging for meter class telescopes due to high cost and technological challenges in producing the large ACF. Subaperture test with a smaller ACF is hence proposed in combination with advanced stitching algorithms. Major error sources include the surface error of the ACF, misalignment of the ACF and measurement noises. Different error sources have different impacts on the wavefront error. Basically the surface error of the ACF behaves like systematic error and the astigmatism will be cumulated and enlarged if the azimuth of subapertures remains fixed. It is difficult to accurately calibrate the ACF because it suffers considerable deformation induced by gravity or mechanical clamping force. Therefore a selfcalibrated stitching algorithm is employed to separate the ACF surface error from the subaperture wavefront error. We suggest the ACF be rotated around the optical axis of the telescope for subaperture test. The algorithm is also able to correct the subaperture tip-tilt based on the overlapping consistency. Since all subaperture measurements are obtained in the same imaging plane, lateral shift of the subapertures is always known and the real overlapping points can be recognized in this plane. Therefore lateral positioning error of subapertures has no impact on the stitched wavefront. In contrast, the angular positioning error changes the azimuth of the ACF and finally changes the systematic error. We propose an angularly uneven layout of subapertures to minimize the stitching error, which is very different from our knowledge. At last, measurement noises could never be corrected but be suppressed by means of averaging and environmental control. We simulate the performance of the stitching algorithm dealing with surface error and misalignment of the ACF, and noise suppression, which provides guidelines to optomechanical design of the stitching test system.
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Shanyong Chen, Shengyi Li, and Guilin Wang "Subaperture test of wavefront error of large telescopes: error sources and stitching performance simulations", Proc. SPIE 9298, International Symposium on Optoelectronic Technology and Application 2014: Imaging Spectroscopy; and Telescopes and Large Optics, 929817 (18 November 2014);

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